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Midlife crisis? Five of the nastiest scams to target us in our 40s and 50s

Spot the warning signs of common scams that target your hard-earned savings

A third of all scam victims are aged between 41 and 60, according to research from Citizens Advice for Scams Awareness Month.

The 40 to 60 age group also has the highest percentage of prior fraud victims and are targeted with a wide range of scams.

If you’re aged between 40 and 60 life tends to be a little more settled and you’re more likely to have some money saved away.

And that makes you a much more tempting target for fraudsters across a wide range of scams, but especially pension scams, dating scams and investment scams.

Here we explain five common scams fraudsters use to try and trick us out of our savings.

Woman typing credit card information on laptop

1. Investment scams

Some of the most common investment scams include ponzi and pyramid schemes, binary options, unregulated products and land banking.

Whether its wine, land or shares, investment scams often begin with a phone call, text, message on social media, email or brochure that’s out of the blue.

If you’re being targeted by an investment scam fraudster you’ll often feel pressured into make a rushed decision for a deal that’s too good to be true. You could also be asked to keep the investment quiet.

Read our investment scams guide for more detail on the most common investment scams and how to spot them.

2. Internet scams

Cyber fraud is much more likely to affect anyone aged between 41 and 60.

Cyber crime typically involves a scammer hacking your computer or network, but it also involved more traditional internet scams.

A common internet scam is the Microsoft phone scam, where a scammer calls you, and typically asks for you by name which can sound convincing.

They’ll say they are a computer-security expert from Microsoft, or they might say they are from a different tech company you’ll recognise.

They’ll try to convince you that your PC, laptop or tablet has been infected with malware (or a computer virus), and that they can help you solve the problem.

The worst offenders will seek to convince you that they need access to your machine so they can fix any issues.

If they are granted access, instead of fixing the issue they will install viruses or malware that will not only damage your machine but also steal your personal details, passwords and data.

Read our guide for more on how to avoid the Microsoft phone scam, including tips on how to spot one.

3. Pension scams

In its ‘Too good to be true’ report, Citizens Advice calculated that 8.4 million people have been offered unsolicited pension advice or reviews since pension freedoms were introduced in April 2015.

The pension freedoms give people added flexibility around their pensions, which scammers have used to bait people.

Scammers may attempt to sell you a too-good-to-be-true, ‘one-off’ investment, usually via an unsolicited phone call, text message or email, or even in person after calling at your door.

They may even attempt to entice you with upfront cash payments.

A dubious salesperson could refer to a pension scam as a pension loan, early pension release or pension liberation.

Read our guide for more information on pension scams, including tips to avoid one.

4. Dating scams

Online dating scams are not only financially destructive, they’re also a painful experience emotionally for the person who has been targeted.

Scammers on dating websites create false profiles to lure people, and either use a fictional name or masquerade as a real person who has no idea their identity is being used in this way.

The scammer will express strong emotions in a relatively short period of time and will try to move the conversation off the dating website and onto less official, more private channels.

Once a dating fraudster has gained the person’s trust they will pretend they need money to come to see you or try to convince you to help them through a family issue.

They could ask for your banking details or your credit card.

Read our guide for more information on how to check if a dating profile is fake or real and for further tips on how to identity a dating scammer.

A stock photo of a British Passport in a pocket. Photographed using the Canon EOS 5DSR.

5. Holiday scams

There are a variety of holiday scams used to target people looking for a good deal.

Suspiciously cheap online deals, holiday listings where the person asks you to pay my bank transfer or outside of the internal system, and fake reviews are all signs that the holiday deal you’ve found is probably being touted by a scammer.

While it’s not a scam, be wary of high-pressure selling tactics when considering a timeshare too. Timeshare agreements last for a long time and can be difficult to cancel if you change your mind.

The salesperson might be genuine, but the deal they’re pressuring you into taking could be a dud.

Read our guide for more tips on how to spot a holiday scam.

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